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There is nothing in this world that Tuffington Montgomery LaRoux, III, Esq. (or Tuffy for short) enjoys more than sunbathing. Every afternoon, Tuffy sprints out of the house – a golden, fuzzy blur of tongue and fur – to joyfully greet the sun. He plops onto the grass, rolls onto his back, and blissfully kicks his paws into the air, mouth wide and smiling. He finally rolls over with a loud and satisfied huff.  

Tuffy is twelve years old, and a rescue dog. The day we met was unremarkable, for the most part – I had stopped by PetSmart to pick up dog food, and a local rescue group happened to be hosting an adoption event. Before I knew it, a very small (and very frightened) Tuffy was snuggled tightly in my arms. Seconds later, his head was firmly tucked under my chin. And then, he took a deep breath and sighed. I melted. 

I named my new dog “Tuffy,” after the Beanie Baby my brother favored when we were children. “Tuffy the Terrier” seemed like a perfect fit, and for many years, Tuffy was a devoted, contemplative companion. He became famous for his “Tuffy Hugs,” and for his consistently cheerful disposition.

In October of 2021, Tuffy’s health began to suddenly decline. After a terrifying month of endless tests, needles, and medication, Tuffy was diagnosed with diabetes. I was devastated – I couldn’t stop the constant flood of negative thoughts from pouring into my mind. What did this mean for Tuffy? Was he going to die? How much longer would I have with him? Would he be in pain from the daily injections? What if his diabetes couldn’t be controlled? 

What if?

And as I pondered, and worried, and analyzed, Tuffy sat with his face toward the sun. 

Tuffy has spent nearly every single day since his diagnosis in a state of perpetual happiness. Every afternoon, he dashes into the garden, sometimes slower than the day before, but always with a wagging tail. Tuffy finds so much contentment simply by being – no matter the circumstances of his existence. Tuffy has taught me so much about the power of positivity, and how to navigate change and difficulty with a happy and open heart. 

Tuffy and I now spend many an afternoon just being, both together and in the sunshine. I am grateful for every single bright day spent with him in these bittersweet, beautiful golden years.